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Skeleton from ‘vampire’ ritual unearthed in Bulgaria

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 13:41 EDT
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An archeologist cleans a skeleton at a dig in Veliko Tarnovo. (AFP Photo/Bgnes)
 
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Another centuries-old skeleton of a man who was subjected to a ritual to stop him from turning into a vampire was unearthed in central Bulgaria Tuesday, archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov said.

“The skeleton was tied to the ground with four iron clamps, while burning ambers were placed on top of his grave,” Ovcharov told AFP.

The bones of a man in his thirties have yet to be dated but are at least several centuries old, said the archaeologist.

“This man is not a vampire but was subjected to this pagan superstition-driven ritual to prevent him from becoming one after his death,” he explained.

The bones were found during excavations in a monastery courtyard in the central town of Veliko Tarnovo, where Ovcharov had already unearthed another skeleton with tied hands and subjected to similar rites a few years ago.

Vampire tales and superstitions are widespread across the Balkans and researchers have long studied practises related to preventing people from turning into vampires after their death.

But the phenomenon only attracted public attention after the discovery last week of two skeletons from the Middle Ages pierced through the chests with iron stakes to prevent them from rising as vampires to terrorise the living.

One of these skeletons, unearthed in the Black Sea town of Sozopol, will go on display at the national historical museum in Sofia this week, museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov said.

[An archeologist cleans a skeleton at a dig in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. AFP Photo/Bgnes]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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